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Research with Penn State's Child Studies Center in the Psychology Department and Study Abroad in Galway, Ireland
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Brian Kilkelly

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Hanover, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about these opportunities?

I learned about the research opportunity through the Penn State Psychology Department website and my honors adviser. I learned about the study abroad program through the Penn State Ed Abroad website.

Tell us a little bit about your experiences.

For the past two years, I have worked closely with Dr. Sandra Azar in the Penn State Psychology Department. I’ve helped administer individual tests as part of larger research studies. I have also worked closely with the data of a NICHD funded research project based in Philadelphia. This past year I have conducted interviews with parents and children as part of Head Start and school readiness research conducted through the Child Studies Center.

I spent the spring semester of my sophomore year (Spring 2010) in Galway, Ireland. It was an incredible experience, and I was able to take advantage of so many amazing opportunities. The academic program offered unique courses and the ease of travel allowed me to explore Ireland, the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. This experience exposed me to so many new places and experiences, and made me a more well-rounded individual and student.

“I would very strongly recommend these and similar experiences because they greatly enhance your educational experience and help to give you better future prospects.”

How did these experiences impact you academically?

This experience in Dr. Azar’s lab gave me first hand exposure to the field of psychology and a one-on-one mentoring relationship with an experienced and knowledgeable professor of psychology. This lab experience allowed me to develop my own questions and find out how to answer these questions. My experience conducting interviews gave me exposure to how education and psychology are related and expanded my interest in education public policy. 

My study abroad experience offered me so many unique opportunities to study Irish history and literature. I was also able to appreciate how valuable diverse topics of study are for every student.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did these experiences impact them?

This August, I will begin a 10-month assignment with City Year DC working with high school students to help them stay on track to graduate. After that, I hope to obtain a Master’s degree in Public Policy with a focus on education.

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